QR codes have started to increase in marketing popularity, but how should you use them and what should you avoid?

What are QR codes?
A QR or Quick Response code is a 3D bar code, created in Japan to speed up the workflow process in the automotive industry. They enable the viewer to go directly to a specific piece of information, which could be a web page, status update or text information.

How does it work?
  1. You convert your information into a QR code using a free QR code generator. I use http://qrcode.kaywa.com/
  2. Your target audience needs a smart phone and QR reader.

What QR Readers are available?
This is a growing number. I use Red Laser which works on most smart phones (iPhones, Blackberrys, Androids). Just Google QR reader and see what works for you. QR readers are free to download.

Why are we interested?
At the start of the year I predicted that QR codes would become more popular to marketers as The Sunday Telegraph, a newspaper with the oldest demographic profile in the UK, starting using these codes in their travel section. The benefit for the reader is that if they saw a holiday they were interested in, let’s say it was a trip to Canada, traditionally they would need to go to a PC and type in the web address which could be http://travelshop.telegraph.co.uk/viewholiday/LLL/1888/four-star-canadas-maple-leaf-trail.htm. If this was converted to a QR code using a free QR code generator:

And this becomes a QR code.

The reader simply takes their smart phone, scans and jumps to the information. Many QR readers allow you to

How can they be used by marketing people?

Provide information about your store’s opening hours, telephone number and key points outside the store when closed.

All your contact info and the latest menus.

Cultural and Tourist Venues
Give the visitor more information on what they’re looking at. The National Memoriam Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire, uses QR codes to give more details on the memorials

Ever visited a show and exchanged business cards? Go one better and have a QR code that allows your potential customers to scan and instantly capture your details.

Business cards
Business cards are a 2D medium and adding a barcode adds a £D quality. It allows you to share more information (all your contact details or your LinkedIn profile) at one scan.

Add a QR code to enable the reader to take advantage of the offer, find more information. This is already being used by L’Oréal and pharmaceutical companies.

Estate Agents
Why not have a QR code next to the offline printed adverts and the window adverts? Take it one stage further to add ‘book viewing’.

Car Insurance
It would be great in the UK if we could display car insurance in the window. Every police officer, traffic warden would scan the QR code in the window and it would show the owner and all insurance details instantly.

If you’re distributing products your vehicle is a giant mobile advert. Why not add a QR code so passers-by can capture your details?

How are QR codes being used now?

What examples of QR codes have you seen? Are they working for your business?

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